There are many different brands of solar systems, which offer either a close couple system (tank and collectors on the roof) or split system (collectors on the roof and tank at ground level). The collectors are either flat plate collectors or evacuated tube collectors.
While the sun is out the collectors will pass the energy absorbed from the sun (solar contribution) into the water and the heated water is then transferred and stored in a solar storage tank. This is adequate on sunny days. However on cloudy and overcast days without the solar contribution, the water temperature will need to be boosted. This is achieved with a gas boost back up or an electric boost back up element. Gas boost solar hot water is currently the most efficient way of heating hot water.
Solar systems are made of many components. These include but are not limited to:
- Solar tank
- Solar collectors
- Sensor wire
- Solar valves
- Electric Power points
- Gas connection (gas boost); Electric connection (electric boost); water connections.
- Flow and return lines from the solar collectors to the solar storage tank.
Installing solar is an expensive exercise due to the many components that need to be purchased and installed. Solar installations vary in difficulty. Some require materials to be installed on a double story roof which is usually more difficulty than installing on a roof of a single level dwelling.
We class solar systems as entry level; mid-range and premium brand systems. Entry level systems are usually utilized by the building industry. Mid-range by homeowners and residential buildings. Premium brands by homeowners willing to invest in a long term system.
The average life expectancy of an entry level system is usually 6-10 years; midrange 10-15 years and premium brands +12 years. The cost to supply and install an entry level system ranges between approximately $3000.00-$5000.00 after rebates. A mid-range system will usually cost between $5000.00-$8000.00 and a premium brand between $7000.00 - $12000.00. The variance is dependent on the system chosen, the difficulty of the installation and the rebates you will be entitled to.
Rebates are determined by the solar system chosen. There are also different rebates available for a new houses. In an existing house the rebate is determined by the hot water system you are changing over from and incentives the governments are offering at the time in your area.
Payback for solar hot water system is usually +8 years. Therefore when installing a mid–range system to premium brand you will reap the benefits. Due to relatively short life of an entry level system you will not really benefit from these systems as major components usually fail within the payback period. All the money you hope to save will go to either expensive maintenance or replacement of major components.
Through our experience of selling, installing and maintaining solar systems we believe it better to install either a mid-range or premium system. Usually with solar hot water you get what you pay for.
Feel free to contact Hot Water Professionals 1800 610 510 to discuss your solar hot water application.